February 27 2015

The article, “10 Critical Lessons I’ve Learned About Implementing a Strategic Plan” stresses to colleges and universities that no longer can we afford to simply plan. 

Without a conscious idea of how we are going to be able to implement our planning, strategic plans are just pretty words on pretty paper.  Governmental agencies, accreditation bodies, board of trustees and even our primary constituents (students, alumni, families, faculty and staff) are all beginning to ask us, “Why plan if in the end, that all that planning results in very little action?”

In these 10 critical lessons, Patrick Sanaghan identifies many of the issues that have caused institutions to fail to successfully implement a strategic plan.  In fact, it is more often the case that when we discuss the implementation with our campuses, a glaze comes over the eyes of the people who are being charged with making happen all the fancy words and ideas we traditionally see in our strategic plans. 

I would add to the “10 Critical Lessons” that planning should not only be strategic and forward thinking (or bold as many of our presidents are demanding), but also have many of the “ables” that make these plans realistic; i.e., the plans need to be achievable, sustainable, implementable, affordable, assignable, deliverable. When planning takes into consideration these critical concepts, the institution is left with a plan that can live, breathe, and actually happen

Recently we were asked by a client “how do we get away from the deeply held sense that all this work is going to result in nothing actually happening?”  The answer: do something.  And as Pat Sanaghan mentions in one of his 10 Critical Lessons, then celebrate the doing of the plan. 

Read the full article referenced here.

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